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Interview: Paul Van Dyk

In the run up to the Cream opening this Thursday, we get updated on all things PVD.

You're back for another year and residency at Cream, what is it about the event that you love so much and provides such a draw for you to come back year after year?

First of all I think Amnesia is probably the best club on the island because it is all about clubbing rather than all the other stuff. The other thing is that Cream is one of the most professional events, producers and promoters in the world. So obviously that combination, plus the fact that it is in Ibiza, and it's always a lot of fun and always draws me back.

How do you think this year will be in comparison to past seasons?

Well the thing is I think one of the most strong points of Cream is that they really know what their core audience is and they work very professionally in order to reach them. They always reinvent themselves and make it new in a way, it's a combination of staying true to themselves but always progressing forward and doing something new and interesting.

Have you ever been tempted to go it alone? Like Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto have?

Well I think it is pretty fair to say that none of those have really succeeded in terms of making it really successful. I think it might have something to do with that in order to do something really strong on the Island and pulling the international crowd into the venue you need a team that actually works there that are already established. I am a team player, I really enjoy working within the team that we have there at Cream. It's a lot of fun to work with them so its never really appealed to me to have just a Paul Van Dyk night. Why would I?

Do you ever tire of the tracks that made you as an artist such as the obvious 'For an Angel', considering that you made it several years ago?

No not at all because it's like seeing a child grow, I'd never get bored of it because it's not a baby anymore. The thing is for many people 'For an Angel' is one of my signature tracks but of course I like it, I did it! When I play it it's always a combination of what I really want and what my audience really wants. So if I'm not playing 'For An Angel' they will go home unsatisfied.

You give more of a live performance now with samplers and keyboards, why did you choose to do this now?

I have developed the same obsession with being a musician as I have being a DJ and the technology came to a point that I could take my musician and production element with me on stage. I did it because I feel it makes it much better, it makes the whole experience of electronic music much more intense. Its not just about playing the right track at the right moment it's about putting the right elements together at the right time over the top, it makes a much more intense approach to presenting music. When I see an element, like a break or a build up, it works very well and I can just do it and create a much bigger impact for the track.

What is your live performance set up exactly?

I have two computers on stage, one is for audio material the other one is for sequences and synthesizers and other kinds of stuff. I have keyboards to allow me to play all types of things, I have custom made Allen & Heath mixer, a custom made VCM 600. I also have controllers that allow me to be in control of every detail in each piece of music I play.

How have you kept yourself interested and excited about working in the music industry for the amount of time that you have?

To be honest I don't need to keep myself excited, I'm a musician, this is what I do it's my big passion. Of course as an artist the best thing is to play music in front of people so I don't really need to be motivated. I think if there was a need to be motivated I would stop doing it. The music and my enthusiasm is what drives me and I'm also very lucky that my audience is very responsive. I always get so much feed back and so much energy back that it always keeps me going.

Trance has had a resurgence in popularity lately but would it be fair to say it was more popular in the nineties? If so why do you think that is?

To be honest I never really put music into those genres, I wasn't calling it trance when it was at it's peak and I'm not calling it trance now either. Everyone has a different definition for example, most of the things they call house music these days could actually be pop music. Listening to Aviici there's actually no house music in it, it's purely trance music that sounds like the stuff from the ninties. There's actually nothing modern about it and that's what leaves me confused as to what is going on in terms of labeling. Therefore I don't do it, it's electronic music and there are elements of it that I enjoy and there are also bits that I don't like at all and that's how I choose what I play. For me music has to be intense, music has to be banging and if there's something that's a bit wishy-washy then I won't play it.

The German music scene is perhaps better known for producing quality techno, do you see any disadvantages being based in a country who's more recent dance music history is focused on this?

No not at all, it's like I said I don't make those definitions and if there is a straightforward techno track that I like then it will become part of my set. If there is something I like that is dubstep or drum and bass that will sound well musically in my own way then it is going to end up in my set. That's how I work so I don't really have a problem with that. Electronic music is a global phenomenon so I don't think that and particular country or any particular place can say we are the capital of this or that because there are electronic music producers all over the world now. Because of the multimedia connections we have it doesn't really matter if you live in Calcutta, London, Ibiza, Berlin, wherever, the second you make a track, send it out to your favourite DJ's, they like it and start playing it then you are already in the game.

Talk to us about your label Vandit, what kind of artists do you sign and what can we expect from it in the coming year?

If you look at our release history then you will find some of the biggest trance anthems on there but you also find things from Chris Liebing which is straightforward techno. You will also find stuff from the Star Chasers which is house music, it's pretty much all about quality which is what counts with electronic music. This is what I like and it has to be high quality stuff that's all, again I don't make those definitions between genres because everybody has their own definition of what's good. Nobody can tell me where trance starts or begins or where progressive house starts or begins, there are so many tracks that cross in and out of each other that it doesn't make any sense. A lot of trance sounding records right now have a dubstep break in the middle so what is that, dubstep trance? Its so hard to categorise tracks which is why I am against it and why I don't do it. It's all about the whole genre and not some little sub element of it.

We have some great stuff coming up, we have just released something fantastic by Judge Jules, a track that will definitely be all over Ibiza, a great track. One key element is that we are preparing the UK release of the evolution album which is going to come out in mid August. We can't wait for this as it is the only territory that the album has not yet been released in so it will be really interesting.

And what about yourself in terms of touring, music you're working on, etc?

I am playing Creamfields and many of the other fesivals throughout the summer then of course lots of general touring mayhem! It's going to be a busy summer as always and I'm really looking forward to it. There are a few different projects in the pipeline and other things that I am doing but it is a bit early to talk about those yet as they wont be available or released until the end of this year.

Finally, what do you do for fun, outside of DJ'ing!? I heard a rumour about horses...

I have horses, yeah! It's a really interesting hobby as it takes you out of the craziness of touring. Being with the animals helps me to calm down otherwise I would go crazy. I also have two dogs which are the complete opposite, they are crazy and wild but a lot of fun.

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